The panto star tells The Sunday Post what she’s learned from her cancer scare and turning 40…but not what happened in Vegas.
What attracted you to do another panto in Scotland?
I love Scotland – I did one in Ayr a couple of years ago and it was amazing! I loved every second of it.
You have two children. Do you mind working away from home for so long?
It’s quite a short run and that attracted me too – because I don’t want to spend too long away from my children.
You recently discovered you had the BRCA gene and underwent a double mastectomy. Do you have any regrets?
It’s really difficult because I opened up about it to the media and I made that decision because I didn’t want anybody fearing the worst or thinking that I have cancer, and it being something it wasn’t. I filmed the whole journey with Lorraine Kelly and without her it could have been harder, because I got to meet lots of women who went through similar things to me.
Do other women in a similar situation ask you about it?
Yeah, that happens a lot. On Instagram I don’t see messages unless I click on requests. And I’ll do it now and then – usually after a bottle of wine, lying in bed with my husband asleep next to me. There are usually at least five messages per day – and it’s women who don’t know where to go. I want to help all of them but it’s difficult because I’m not qualified and I don’t want to give out false hope. It’s difficult to set aside my feelings.
How do you deal with the number of requests?
It’s sad because it takes energy and emotion away from my own family. I get really upset and down because there are so many women suffering. It’s a line I don’t know if I can cross. I want to help these women but sometimes I don’t even know if I can open their messages. I can see in the first line of their message: “Please help”. I’ve actually been thinking about starting a podcast to answer some questions from women, perhaps anonymously.
You turned 40 early this year – did you have a party?
My husband (Hugh Hanley) went all out and we had a big surprise party in our garden. Although I kind of knew because he’s really bad at keeping secrets. Then he took me to Las Vegas – just the two of us, which was lovely because we’ve not been away since we had the kids. Without getting into the nitty gritty, I think one of our children was conceived there…
Michelle is in Aladdin at DG1 in Dumfries this Christmas between December 14 and 29.